Hotchkiss' boys basketball team survived a frantic last second effort from Vail Christian's Saints. The Bulldogs finished the exciting game with a 72-71 score.
According to Hotchkiss coach Eric Hollembeak, "It was a tough game. Sam Rodriguez was fouled driving the lane and hit one of two free throws to give us the lead (72-71). They (Vail Christian, 8-4, 8-11) tried a 3-point shot by Sebastian Moritz that was blocked by Eli Kirk."
Kirk, described by Hollembeak as an outstanding defender is used to defend the opponents best player. He did his job and the Bulldogs (9-3, 14-5) recorded a key 2A District 5 win.
"The kids were having fun playing this game. Both teams made tough shots and played good defense," noted Hollembeak.
Vail Christian led by one after one quarter and the Bulldogs were up six at halftime. The Saints, sparked by a trio of 3-point shots took and early led in the third period and won the quarter 21-15 leaving the score tied at 51-51 heading to the final quarter.
Sam Rodriguez paced Hotchkiss' offense with 24 points and led all scorers in the game. Zack Allen added 13 counters while Braxton Trujillo and Gabve Rodriguez chipped in 10 points each for the winners.
Moritz was Vail Christian's leading scorer with 18 points and Bryan Trujillo finished with 16.
Hotchkiss and Vail Christian will see each other again on Wednesday in Hotchkiss at 5:30 p.m. At stake is a berth in District 5's tournament held in De Beque on Friday and Saturday. A win over Vail Christian will likely result in a third matchup against Paonia on Friday for the Bulldogs. A meeting between Vail Christian and the Eagles would be the second meeting of the season for the two teams. Paonia won the first meeting 63-56.